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Recent Trust Activity

22 Nov 2020   |   Chris Jessup   |   Positive Regard TSA, Wellspring Academy Trust

I would like to update you on some of the activity occurring within our system. I hope that it inspires and assures you in equal measure of the value we are adding to your Trust.

School Direct
Our School Direct offer is at the heart of our recruitment and retention solution. There is now a real opportunity for us to achieve a step-change in staffing capacity and future pipeline needs. The Government has withdrawn bursaries for most teacher trainees. Many of us employed School Direct trainees previously on the salaried route. Rather than the change leading to a reduction in the number of trainees in our schools, the number and quality of prospective trainees available for September 2021 has encouraged a burgeoning take up.

I know many of you have been impressed with the professionalism with which interviews have taken place, and the calibre of candidates. Positive Regard has made significant changes to our way of working. We will embed these changes during 2021 as we rebrand and retool to face the future. Schools have already committed to trainees for September 2021 and interviews are currently taking place.

We have a very clear Mission and Purpose:

  • We work closely in partnership with our schools.
  • Positive relationships as fundamental to good education.
  • Teaching as a career, not a two to three-year stop-gap.
  • Provide individualised, high-quality support to every trainee.

We will continue to attract the best candidates into our system. Recruitment remains open and we are agile to your needs. Please do not hesitate to contact myself or Katie Hartshorne or further information about any aspect of the programme.

Aspirant teacher programme
Our Aspirant Teacher programme will begin after Christmas. It is designed to give those considering becoming a teacher an understanding into what it means to begin the journey – the skills and the knowledge required and the encouragement to pursue that dream.

This virtual programme is available to colleagues who do not currently have the graduate qualifications traditionally required for a career as a teacher. A key aspect will be to engage participants with the key concepts behind the science of learning.

Led by Sarah Jones (Executive Vice Principal, Springwell Lincolnshire), colleagues will gain an invaluable and inspiring insight into learning and pedagogy. For more information on this innovative programme, please contact Katie, Holly, Amy or myself and we will be delighted to provide further details.

Subject Leader programme
Expert Practitioner colleagues are co-creating a subject leader programme designed to offer the skills and knowledge needed to lead a subject. The content will focus on the key themes of:

  • Vision and intent – the importance of having, owning and articulating a vision for a subject – establishing the ‘why’.
  • Implementation – how to move from the vision to the practical.
  • Quality assuring – how to prove and improve in a culturally supportive, non judgemental way.
  • Impact – Showing impact and thinking what success looks like. Celebrating best practice.
  • Next steps and networking – connecting with colleagues across the Trust and beyond. How can improvement be deepened and embedded?

RQT mentoring
Joanna Kempston and Katie Hartshorne have developed a Recently Qualified Teacher support programme based on the bespoke needs of this important community of colleagues.

We know that with COVID, NQTs last academic year may not have had all the training and support they would ordinarily receive. The initiative was prompted by our Strategy Group meeting which identified this important area of support.

Using the principles of informal mentoring, each colleague has been ‘buddied’ with an Expert Practitioner or Associate Principal to give bespoke support, create a culture of continuous learning, encourage career planning and progression and, crucially, ensure wellbeing.

The Josie Thirkell Institute of Education
Our Vision 2025 aims to build upon our successes so far. It expresses the confidence we have in our distinctive approach and articulates our ambition for what will come next. As of September 2021, the Teaching School designation for Positive Regard will cease to exist.

We will bring our training and professional development activity and offers together under the banner of The Josie Thirkell Institute of Education. The Institute will work with key strategic partners to provide a coherent workforce pipeline and cultural understanding, from Initial Teacher Training, through apprenticeship programmes, through to Leadership Development programmes, based in the philosophy and values of Wellspring, explicitly linked to our Vision 2025. More information around the official launch will be forthcoming. In the meantime, we will transition our branding, offer and approach to reflect the values and ethos of the new organisation.

The Institute will work alongside you in making a lasting difference to the children and young people we serve. I am honoured to be asked to lead this initiative. In the coming months and years, I am determined to see it grow in influence and scale to improve the life chances of everyone we work with and establish a distinctive position in the world. Your Institute will inspire, improve and influence education. I hope you are as excited by that possibility as I am.


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